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Important Information on the Biological Effects of Cell Phones and Wireless Technologies

April 25, 2011 | 59,479 views

CellphoneOn the site linked below, you can listen to an interview with Dr. Karl Maret. Dr. Maret is the president of the Dove Health Alliance, a nonprofit foundation that focuses on the creation and promotion of global research and education networks in Energy Medicine.

Dr. Maret trained in both electrical and biomedical engineering before his medical studies. He has recently begun educating physician groups specifically on the biological impacts of communication technologies, such as cell phones and wireless technologies.

According to Electromagnetic Health, in this interview, Maret discusses:

"... the biological effects of electromagnetic fields. He offers especially valuable perspective given he has both an extensive medical background and a background in electrical engineering and biomedical engineering."

According to a new study, electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones may affect bone strength. Men who wear their cell phone on the right side of their belts were found to have reduced bone mineral content and bone mineral density in the right hip.

Researchers measured the bone strength at the left and right hip in two groups of healthy men, half of whom did not use cell phones and half of whom carried their cell phone in a belt pouch on the right side. Their hip bones were assessed using a test called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.

According to Newswise:

"... [M]en who did not use cell phones had higher [bone mineral content] in the right femoral neck (near the top of the thigh bone) ... The cell phone users also had reduced [bone mineral density] and [bone mineral content] at the right trochanter -- an area at the outside top of the thigh bone, close to where the phone would be worn on the belt."

Additionally, a separate U.S. government funded study by Nora Volkow et al published in JAMA unsettled many people when it reported that using a cell phone could alter brain activity, and do so at non-thermal levels of microwave radiation, levels which have long been argued by industry and regulatory bodies do not have enough intensity to create biological effects.

The report did not conclude whether the changes in glucose levels resulted in any negative, long-term health effect, but it had many people wondering what they can do to protect themselves, and also whether they can trust regulatory bodies setting exposure guidelines.

Dr. Michael Kundi, at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, commented:

"Since a brain tumor utilizes excessive amounts of glucose, changes in glucose utilization may be a key mechanism to support tumor growth."

The study's authors advise cell phone users to keep their phone at a distance by putting them on speaker mode or using a wired headset whenever possible. Even holding your phone farther away from your ear can make a difference, as the intensity of radiation diminishes sharply with distance.

According to the New York Times:

"Many cellphones emit the most radiation when they initially establish contact with the cell tower, making their 'digital handshake.' To reduce exposure it's best to wait until after your call has been connected to put your cellphone next to your ear.

During the ensuing conversation, it's advisable to tilt the phone away from your ear when you are talking and only bring it in close to your ear when you are listening ... radiation is 'significantly less when a cellphone is receiving signals than when it is transmitting.'"

In addition, texting instead of talking might be safer.

And if the Volkow study demonstrating increased glucose levels in the brain from cell phone radiation raised major concerns about cell phone safety around the globe, stunning new research from China is following on its heels, waking up people further to the evident very serious risks from cell phones. 

The recent study, by Duan Y, et al , "Correlation between cellular phone use and epithelial parotid gland malignancies," published in the International Journal of Oral and Maxofacial Surgery, showed a dose-response relationship between cell phone use and parotid gland tumors, and as much as a 3,000% increased risk of parotid gland tumors with greater than 2.5 hours of cell phone use per day.

See ElectromagneticHealth.org post, "Important New Chinese Study Connecting Cell Phone Use with Parotid  Gland Tumors," and coverage by Microwave News, "Chinese Put Cancer of the Parotid Gland on Center Stage."

"The authors found general indications of a dose–response relationship between cellular phone use and parotid gland malignancy.

In particular, duration of use prior to diagnosis, average daily number of calls, average daily duration of cellular phone usage, number of calls since first use, and total time of usage were positively associated with parotid gland malignancy."

Brain tumor analyst L. Lloyd Morgan, B.S., who was lead author of the landmark report, "Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern," says the risks of parotid gland tumors found in the Duan Y, et al parotid gland study were "as large, perhaps larger, than the risk of lung cancer from smoking."

Camilla Rees of www.ElectromagneticHealth.org says:

"It is not surprising we have never seen the full data set from the 13-country Interphone study, especially the data on parotid gland tumors and acoustic neuromas, tumors closest to where a cell phone is held against the head, despite the fact that the study was completed over six years ago.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the part of the World Health Organization responsible for the Interphone study, is planning to soon draw conclusions on risk of cancer from RF from cell phones based only on the 50% of Interphone results they have released to date,

Global scientists and activists are now actively protesting this decision and insisting it be held off until the full Interphone data set is released. The Duan Y, et al parotid gland study very strongly reemphasizes we must gain access to the full dataset of the Interphone study, and subject it to independent analysis."

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The last thing anyone wants is to be diagnosed with a brain tumor or other permanent health damage 10 or 20 years down the road, only to find out that you could have avoided this fate had you had access to the truth …

The reason I started this newsletter was to communicate important health information to you long before it permeates the mainstream health agencies and media. In the time it takes for this information to spread, you can potentially prevent serious damage to your health that would otherwise occur from activities you didn't realize were harmless until it was too late.

So I urge you to take the following information to heart, and also to set aside one hour to listen to ElectromagneticHealth.org founder Camilla Rees' interview with Karl Maret, MD.

With both an extensive medical background and a background in electrical engineering and biomedical engineering, Dr. Maret is uniquely qualified to speak on the topic of electromagnetic fields, and he shares some of the most compelling arguments to date on why you must use extreme caution when it comes to cell phones, cordless phones, smart meters and other forms of electromagnetic fields (EMFs).

Remember Your Body Runs on Bioelectricity

You may not be hearing about the health risks of EMFs on the morning news, or if you do you may hear stories spreading confusion and doubt about the risks in support of commercial interests, but there is no shortage of research showing that they deserve some very real attention.

And when you consider that you are an electrical being -- your body produces electrons to keep an electrical current flowing, and inside every cell are mitochondria, the 'power plants' of the cell that can be impacted by EMFs -- it makes perfect sense that disregulation would occur from EMF exposures.

As Dr. Maret explained, your body is a complex communication system where cells "talk", tissues "talk," organs "talk," and organisms "talk" -- it's a veritable "electronic symphony in your body."

At each of these levels, the communication includes finely tuned bio-electrical transmitters and receivers, which are tuned like tuning into a radio station. What happens when you expose a radio antenna to a significant amount of external noise? You get static from the noise -- and that is what is happening to your body in today's EMF-saturated environment.

If you have 20 minutes, you can listen to an important speech by Martin Blank, PhD, who spoke at the November 18, 2010 Commonwealth Club of California program, "The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields," co-sponsred by ElectromagneticHealth.org.

Dr. Blank speaks with deep experience and commanding authority on the impact on cells and DNA from electromagnetic fields, and explains why your DNA, with its 'coil of coils' structure, is especially vulnerable to electromagnetic fields of all kinds. It possesses the two structural characteristics of fractal antennas, electronic conduction and self-symmetry. These properties contribute to greater reactivity of DNA to electromagnetic fields than other tissues.

Dr. Blank is adamant when he says that there IS evidence of harm, and that the harm can be significant. He also points out that the science showing harmful effects has been peer-reviewed, published, and that the results have been replicated, evaluated and "judged by scientists capable of judging it."

The Research is Coming in Loud and Clear: Your Cell Phone Might Give You Cancer

I've written a lot about the dangers of EMFs in general, and cell phone radiation specifically, but appreciation for the critical importance of this science for humans as well as the environment is proving slow, with tremendous resistance from industries with commercial interests and potential liability.

This is most unfortunate, as the research we have to date shows that people are indeed putting themselves at risk by using wireless technologies that are mistakenly considered innocuous. The health risks are simply becoming too evident to deny.

In 2008, a study from Israel that was part of the Interphone project revealed that they found no increased overall risk of parotid tumors (your parotid gland is the salivary gland closest to where you hold your cell phone to your ear and cheek) due to cell phone use among the entire group of study participants.

This statement is misleading at best, as when the risk was broken down further, regular users, as well as heavy users in rural areas showed increased risk of parotid gland tumors, due to higher levels of exposure.

In 2009, Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, the principle investigator of the 2008 study, testified at a U.S. Senate Hearing that cell phones were identified as a contributor to salivary gland tumors.

The report by Hebrew University states that your risk of getting a parotid tumor on the same side of your head that you use for listening to the mobile phone increases by:

  • 34 percent if you are a regular cell phone user and have used a mobile phone for 5 years (this was only borderline significant)
  • 58 percent if you had more than about 5,500 calls in your lifetime (statistically significant)
  • 49 percent if you have spoken on the phone for more than 266.3 hours during your lifetime (statistically significant)

And the brand new research from China shows that long-term, heavy cell phone use may raise your risk of malignant parotid gland tumors seven to 13 times! This is a major risk that needs to be taken very seriously. As Microwave News reported:

"The raw data -- that is, before being adjusted for other possible risk factors like sex, age, income, smoking status and the like -- point to cancer risks that are elevated 10-fold, 20-fold, and even 30-fold, depending on the type of tumor and how heavy cell phone use is defined …

For instance, those who had used mobile phones for over ten years had more than ten times the rate of epithelial parotid gland malignancies, the dominant type of cancer of parotid gland. The risk rose to 20 times that of controls for mucoepidermoid carcinoma, the primary subtype of parotid gland cancer.

Those who used a cell phone for more than two-and-a-half hours a day had a more than 15-to-30 fold elevated cancer risk. Previous studies have rarely pointed to a risk that is more than double or triple the expected rate."

A review of 11 long-term epidemiologic studies published in the journal Surgical Neurology two years ago revealed that using a cell phone for 10 or more years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same side of the head where the cell phone is typically held.

Professor Mild, lead researcher of that particular study, also cautioned that the danger may be even greater than what they found because cancers need a minimum of 10 years to develop.

Children are Most at Risk

Since children today are using cell phones at an earlier age than any previous generation, their exposure will be far greater over their lifetimes. Because children have thinner skulls than adults, and their nervous systems are still developing, children are particularly vulnerable to this type of tumor and should not use cell phones at all.

Australia has seen an increase in pediatric brain cancers of 21 percent in just one decade. This is consistent with studies showing a 40 percent brain tumor increase across the board in Europe and the U.K. over the last 20 years.

Brain cancer has now surpassed leukemia as the number one cancer killer in children. The BioInitiative Report also includes studies showing evidence for exposure to electromagnetic fields brain tumors, acoustic neuromas, and childhood cancers like leukemia.

Beyond Cancer: Other Health Risks of EMF

Scientists have found that microwaves transmitted by cell phones and other wireless devices can:

Harm your blood cells Damage your DNA Cause nerve-cell damage
Possibly accelerate and contribute to onset of autism May trigger Alzheimer's disease Damage your eyes
Cause sleep disruptions Cause decreased bone density in the pelvic region Lead to electromagnetic hypersensitivity
Affect your heart rate and blood pressure Lead to fatigue and headaches Cause type 3 diabetes

Earlier this year, a new study published in JAMA also revealed that cell phone use does in fact have a very real, and measurable, impact on your brain.

Just 50 minutes of cell phone use was associated with increased brain glucose metabolism (a marker of brain activity) in the region closest to the antenna. The researchers noted that this "finding is of unknown clinical significance," which means only time will tell what impact this may end up having on your brain health.

Cell Phones are Only Part of the Problem

Much of the warnings about EMFs center on the use of cell phones, and increasingly the use of cordless phones as well. And as Dr. Maret noted, these two items, along with smart meters, do deserve the lion's share of the attention, as they are likely among the most harmful in the short-run.

However, there are numerous other sources of EMFs that you are also bombarded with on a nearly 24/7 basis and we do not know the long-term consequences. Right now we exist in an environment that has never before occurred in nature, one that is teeming with varying levels of electrical pollution, or "electrosmog."

It started with the rollout of the electrical grid a century ago, and now virtually everyone in a developed country is being bombarded with electrical frequencies from electronic devices and microwave radiation from cell phones, wireless routers and computer equipment and cell phone towers.

Essentially, most all electronics will generate EMFs, including the wiring in your home, electric alarm clocks, electric blankets, computers and lamps, just to mention a few. EMFs come from wiring, compact fluorescent bulbs, and electronic equipment and microwave radiation from wireless technologies.

For more information on the primary EMFs to check for around your home, as well as how to lower your risks, listen to Camilla Rees interviewing Vicki Warren, the past executive director of the Institute for Bau Biology & Ecology.

Common Sense Tips to Lower Your Cell Phone Risks

You can't completely avoid radiation in today's wireless world, as even if your home is wireless-free, you can be exposed to microwave radiation from your neighbor's wireless devices or while visiting "hot spots" or traveling near cell phone towers. If you're ready to give up your cell phone, you can virtually eliminate that one hazard, however. This is important to consider, as we are talking about eliminating serious risk of harm directly to your brain.

If you're not prepared to take that step, you can minimize your exposure by heeding the following advice:

  • Children Should Never Use Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones.
  • Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.
  • Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.
  • Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time.

    If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least some of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made.

    Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters wont help much). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a meter suitable for consumers.

    Alternatively you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren't talking. So if you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may not be as damaging to your health.

    Ideally it would be helpful to turn off or disconnect your base station every night before you go to bed.

    You can find RF meters at www.emfsafetystore.com. But you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is labeled DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.

  • Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.

    Also seek to avoid carrying your phone on your body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man's pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.

  • Don't Assume One Cell Phone is Safer Than Another. There's no such thing as a "safe" cell phone.
  • Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.
  • Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used.

    If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor's office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the 'second hand radiation' effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.

  • Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded -- and most of them are not -- the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient information carrying radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.

    Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded.

    The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.


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